Discovering Your Dosha – The Ayurvedic Approach

About twenty Birch Hill residents gathered in the multipurpose room for education on Ayurveda organized by Fitness Coordinator Bernadette Stephens.  Looking at a list of body traits, personality types, and personal habits, the residents began the task of selecting observations for themselves. The purpose of this exercise was to categorize each person into three main groups of elements or discover their main constitution, also known as a “dosha.”

The activity was part of a workshop on Ayurvedic wellness taught by Diana Moore, Ph.D.  Each resident filled out the questionnaire, looked at the survey of their neighbors and glanced around the room – some more confidently than others.  Is it done correctly?  What does it mean to be a Pitta?

Dr. Moore began by explaining the roots of ancient Indian culture and philosophy behind Ayurveda. She reminded the group that all creatures are made from elements in the universe and that we are all comprised of different forms of energy.  She continued, “With all things being interconnected it is important to understand the energetic constitution of ourselves and all living things, and to remember that the energies are constantly changing and evolving.”

The five elements associated with all people and creatures are:

  • Ether (space)
  • Earth
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Air

These elements are equal to the energies present within people and can help with assigning a primary dosha. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Dr. Moore then referred the attendees back to their worksheets for discovery.  If you are slim, energetic, and often eat when you remember along with some other physical characteristics, you are likely a Vata. The Vata dosha is mainly comprised of air and ether elements.  If you have a medium build, strong appetite and are always on the move it is likely you are a Pitta.

Commonly, people are a blend of two doshas.  In that case, it is important to consider which dosha is your primary constitution in order to apply recommendations for foods and activities.  Dr. Moore illustrated recommended foods for each dosha type and activities that would be beneficial for each in order to maintain balance within the physical, mental and spiritual self. When an imbalance occurs in these energies, it can present as illness or disease of the body or mind.

This workshop was a perfect example of another layer to overall wellness and health education at Birch Hill.